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Why in news?

  • The Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), a statutory body under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), will support exploration of metabolomics alteration in COVID-19 infected patients conducted by IIT Bombay in collaboration with some hospitals in Mumbai.
  • The Board was set up for promoting basic research in science and engineering and to provide financial assistance to scientists, academic institutions, R&D laboratories, industrial concerns and other agencies for such research.
  • The Board has schemes for funding extramural research, for providing grants for start-up research and for using the scientific expertise of retired scientists.
  • The study will identify potential biomarker candidates to predict progression from non-severe to severe COVID-19 conditions.
  • Search for potential diagnostic candidates will involve metabolite profiling of different patient groups with various complications.
  • Metabolites are small biomolecules, capable of regulating various pathways in all the living-organisms.
  • This is a very interesting approach to differentiate between the mild and severe cases of COVID-19 based on the determination of biomarkers from detailed metabolome or proteome investigations. If successful, it could help both in advanced diagnostic and therapeutic strategies

What is a Biomarker?

  • A bio-marker, or biological marker is a measurable indicator of some biological state or condition.
  • Biomarkers are often measured and evaluated to examine normal biological processes, pathogenic processes, or pharmacologic responses to a therapeutic intervention.
  • Biomarkers are used in many scientific fields.
  • The use of biomarkers in basic and clinical research as well as in clinical practice has become so commonplace that their presence as primary endpoints in clinical trials is now accepted almost without question.
  • In the case of specific biomarkers that have been well characterized and repeatedly shown to correctly predict relevant clinical outcomes across a variety of treatments and populations, this use is entirely justified and appropriate.
December 2023